How to tip at a hotel

by Kristina Tahnyak on March 4, 2015 · 3 comments

How to tip at a hotel, travel tipping, tips at hotel, travel tipGood morning Dinks.  I’m back from my much needed extra long weekend getaway and let me tell you I had a great time.  To sum up my six days (Thursday to Monday) I met with a freelance client, I attended a digital media conference, I had dinner with an old friend from high school and I had a job interview.  I know that sounds like a lot, but I still managed to sneak in some recreational time at the pool and in the sauna.  I also found the time to finish reading my book.

On the downside my luck with accommodations is a different story.  I stayed in three different hotels over the five days.  My first night hotel was an add on because I decided to leave a day early, my second hotel was awful (a.k.a. kid friendly – very kid friendly) then I finally settled into my final hotel destination.

I spent $57 in taxi cab fares travelling from hotel to hotel, that’s a lot of wasted money.  Each taxi cab ride was a new start up fee, a new travelling fair and a new tip.  As I handed over my heard earned money I thought about the habit of tipping, specifically tipping when travelling.  When should we do it, who should we give it to and how much should we give?

Your cab driver?  I never know how much to tip when it comes to cabs, is it the standard 15-20% like in restaurants?  I usually round up and add a dollar.  However I never tip if I’m taking a trip where there is a flat fee such as to or from the airport (remember THAT story?).  I’m not sure if it’s proper etiquette, but that’s what I do.

The bellman for helping with your bags?  In the movies the traveller always hands the bellman money when he brings luggage into the room.  However the people having their bags carried are usually rich.  So what about us, what about the average Joe, should we tip the bellman at a hotel?

Housekeeping for bringing extra towels?  I used to always hand housekeeping a dollar or two when I requested extra towels but I recently stopped doing it.  I started thinking, why am I paying for something that’s already in my hotel room?  I made a decision then and there to stop tipping for items that are already in my room but I need more of.  If I need extra pillows, towels or a blanket I don’t tip.

What about items that aren’t in your hotel room?  I don’t necessarily think we should tip for someone bringing extra towels to the room because those are items that come with renting a hotel room for the evening.  But what about other items that are available from the hospitality desk and aren’t standard in your room like shower caps, tooth paste and razors.  Do you tip when someone brings non standard items to your room?

While I was on my extra long weekend getaway I called housekeeping and asked for a shower cap.  I had no intention of tipping so I didn’t bring any money to the door.  When the man handed me two shower caps he said “Here you go Kristina”.  He knew my name, that’s great service…and yet I didn’t tip him.  I still feel bad about it!


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way March 4, 2015 at 8:52 am

I remember a scene from the Home Alone movie that the bellman was waiting for a tip because he was carrying the kid’s bag, so the kid gave him a bubble gum. :) I don’t always travel, but for me, I think I wouldn’t give them tip because it’s their job to assist us and we are not obliged to tip them.

2 Tara March 5, 2015 at 1:01 am

I don’t feel you ever HAVE to tip (except wait staff at restaurants who would actually lose money to taxes and their required pay out to bus boys, etc.) Everyone else appreciates and some expect a tip. Whether items are in your room or not is irrelevant. Either way you can go downstairs and get it yourself. If its in your room, but you want more, it’s the same as getting something not in your room. And someone has saved you the trouble and effort of going downstairs. What is that worth to you? That should be what ou ip them.

Standard cab tip is 10%-20% with average being I think 14%. I just read an article that there are now cab credit card machines that list 15%, 20%, 25%, you can write in an amount, or say “I don’t want TP tip.” you can guess the psychological affect of that. Most people tip nd pick 20% increasing the average tip.

I also know people that leave a tip for the cleaning staff at hotels upon departure. I don’t get that. I have no idea if he same people cleaned my room and who ends up with that money. If I met the person and had a relationship, I would probably tip. But that’s never happened.

3 Brian Kidd March 7, 2015 at 11:10 am

Just went on a 4 night business trip in Secaucus, NJ. I tipped $5/night(expensed). I always thought it’s customary to tip the housekeeping staff, who make sure your room is as clean as can be. Didn’t have any requests, but if I did, I’m sure they would have been more than accommodating.

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